Philly Improv Theater (PHIT)
(pronounced "fit") is the Philadelphia longform improv and sketch comedy theater. PHIT currently has education programs for improv and sketch, and hosts one week of shows each month at The Shubin Theatre in the South Street area of Philadelphia.
PHIT is the only longform improvisation theater in the Metro Philadelphia area. Founded as a nonprofit in 2005, PHIT embraces the art of improvisation as an end rather than a means - creating and producing improv, sketch, and alternate comedy shows in the tradition of theaters like Chicago's Second City and New York's Upright Citizens Brigade. To further this philosophy, PHIT offers it's own take on the theories and concepts behind good improvisation in a full curriculum of classes for performers of all skill levels taught by local talent and through master classes with distinguished performers and teachers from all over the world (including Impro author Keith Johnstone, Joe Bill and Mark Sutton of The Second City, and former SNL writer Ali Farahnakian). In addition to performing as part of PHIT's weeklong residency at The Shubin Theatre each month, local improv troupes produced and presented by PHIT have toured extensively on the East Coast and performed in festivals throughout North America.
The theater has been the at center of Philadelphia's burgeoning improv scene because it was the first place in Philadelphia to offer a sequence of longform improv classes that helped develop talent and increase the community of performers in the city. It used the funds from classes to pay instructors, which gave members of the community an incentive to focus more of their time on improv (and allowed them to invest in their own groups). PHIT was then able to use the money from classes to book actual theater space in the city, allowing improv shows in the city to move out of bars. The combination of continuous improv training and increased improv performance opportunities and crowds have been keys to the success of improv in Philadelphia during the past several years.
Philly Improv Theater was founded in October 2005 by Executive Director Greg Maughan, working with Bobbi Block, Matt Holmes, and Alexis Simpson to initially create an improv education program for Philadelphia. PHIT was officially announced to the wider community at the First Annual Philadelphia Improv Festival on November 4, 2005. The first classes and workshops at PHIT were offered in January 2006; the theater has continuously offered small classes with the top improv teachers in the city since that time.
From March 2006-January 2008, PHIT presented a monthly improv comedy show at Fergie's Pub in Center City Philadelphia called Improv Sunday. Since 2007 the theater has also had a full-week run of shows at The Shubin Theatre every month, in addition to producing additional shows at venues throughout the city of Philadelphia. In 2008, PHIT appointed its first paid-staff member: Artistic Director Alexis Simpson. It also held auditions for its three original house teams, who officially premiered in October 2008. After initially being a venue for only improv groups, PHIT expanded to include sketch comedy in October 2007 with a staging of Meg & Rob's Reviving the Lecture Circuit. In 2012, it added it's first House Sketch teams.
In 2014 the theater made the Adrienne Theater its permanent home.
PHIT House Teams
PHIT Sketch Teams
Retired House Teams
- Activity Book
- Doctor Sleepover
- Mayor Karen
- The Moops
- The Scramble
- This Is Your Captain
Regular Independent Performing Groups
- Bad Kitten
- BABS (Barbara Bush)
- Bill Parks
- Daddy Bulldog
- Lovers of Books
- Office Hours
- Proper Dodgy
- The Sardines
- Skeletons Etc
- Where the Trees Are
- Yung Dad
Indie Sketch Teams
Regular Hosted Shows
- Alex Strang's Movie Plotz
- DTF: Darryl and Timaree Fun Hour
- Guilty Pleasures
- Two Late With Rob & Joe
Staff and Key Volunteers
PHIT currently has two full-time staff members. In addition the theater is supported by a wide-array of volunteers, who do everything from running tech at shows to producing a bi-weekly newsletter, to flyering.
- Rob Baniewicz, PHIT News Editor
- Mark Dames, Box Office Manager
- Meg Favreau, PHIT News Editor
- Rick Horner, House Team Director
- Scott Sheppard, House Team Director
- Alli Soowal, Class Registration Coordinator
Philly Improv Theater does not have it's own permanent space. Instead they maintain an office in the home of the Executive Director, and have a long-term booking to produce shows at The Shubin Theatre one week each month. As a result The Shubin Theatre functions as the de facto home of PHIT. In addition, the theater has produced shows at a variety of other notable venues - including The Adrienne Theatre, and Fergie's Pub.
The best way to contact the theater is via email, but we also maintain a phone, fax, and website.
General email: firstname.lastname@example.org General phone: (267) 233-1556 General fax: (267) 273-1420 Website: http://www.phillyimprovtheater.com
Office Mailing Address: Philly Improv Theater, c/o Greg Maughan, 4203 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4010 Theater Address: Philly Improv Theater @ The Shubin Theatre, 407 Bainbridge Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147